84 Lumber

Building supplies are loaded on the barge that set off from Miami to the Bahamas.

More than 1,000 miles to the north, 84 Lumber has lent a formidable helping hand to the Bahamas.

A little more than a week ago, the Eighty Four-based company shipped more than $50,000 worth of building supplies to the storm-ravaged archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamas, made up of more than 700 islands, was devastated by Hurricane Dorian on Aug. 24, resulting in at least 65 deaths and pervasive damage to homes and other buildings.

A major relief effort is ongoing, and is now aided by a large Washington County firm – the nation’s top privately held supplier of building material supplies.

The company donated enough plywood, roofing paper and two-by-fours to repair about 100 roofs, and loaded a 121-foot barge capable of transporting 187 tons. The 84 Lumber store in West Palm Beach facilitated the project, filling the barge in Miami and sending it to the islands about 200 miles to the southeast.

Broken down, the supplies included 24 bundles of 5/8-inch plywood and roofing paper. The Bahamian government, according to a news release from 84 Lumber, is paying all labor costs to rebuild homes, schools and businesses that were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.

Global Empowerment Mission, a Florida nonprofit, is coordinating the relief response, in cooperation with the Bahamas Relief Foundation and Bethenny Frankel’s BStrong initiative. More than five million pounds of aid have been collected in the aftermath of the storm. GEM has sent 500,000 pounds of aid each week to the Bahamas.

Nick Nicosia, the Caribbean territory manager for 84 Lumber, realized immediately what the hurricane had wrought in August – and how his employer should respond.

“After witnessing the level of destruction on the Bahamas, we knew that we could make a difference to help put roofs back over the heads of people who so desperately needed assistance,” he said in a statement.

“Our West Palm Beach store moved quickly to get these needed supplies out of the store and down to Miami, so that construction can begin in a matter of days. The materials donated will help hundreds of families to have a shelter from the elements.

“The devastation is large and the effort is nowhere near over. We look forward to the progress that will help families get back to a normal life.”

Business Writer

Rick Shrum joined the Observer-Reporter as a reporter in 2012, after serving as a section editor, sports reporter and copy editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rick has won eight individual writing awards, including two Golden Quills.

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